Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sweet Treat of the Week - A Slightly Troublesome Cake

What did the book have for me this week?

I chose a chocolate pound cake. I wanted something simple, a sort of "dump and stir" kind of recipe. I didn't want complications or the need for multiple layers or multipe add-ins. I wanted something that would travel well as I was invited to a barbecue.

The trouble started when I neglected to double-check the recipe when I shopped for ingredients. It wasn't until I started to actually bake the cake that I realized I didn't have everything I needed.

First I needed superfine sugar. I had about a cup's worth in the cupboard, but I needed three times that amount. I read many years ago that whizzing your regular sugar in the food processor could substitute for superfine sugar, so I did that.

Then I realized I needed a vanilla bean. The recipe called for vanilla extract and a scraped vanilla bean. Once again, my chocolate treat is missing vanilla. I looked for something flavorful to boost the chocolate. I thought about Ina Garten's love of adding coffee. I had none (which was odd because I usually keep instant coffee granules around for baking). I was hoping I might have some Kahlua stashed away in the liquor cabinet - no dice. I opted for a small amount of rum.

The recipe said to line the pan with paper. I couldn't figure out how to line a Bundt pan with paper. It gets all wrinkly and crinkly. I decided to just grease and flour the pan really well and hope for the best.

As far as Bundt cakes go, this one rose really nicely and filled the pan. It was not the skimpy Bundt cake I so detest and fear. Unfortunately, it did stick a little in some spots. I did what I could to cover it up by making some chocolate royal icing and covering those patches up. Unfortunately, I poured the milk in too quickly and the glaze was too thin. I didn't have enough powdered sugar to thicken it back up. When I attempted to pour the stuff onto the cake, it just dripped right off. It made for some nice leakage during transport as well.

Yokelson is so incredibly precise with cooking directions. In her recipes, you don't just cream butter until it's fluffy. You cream it for 3 minutes. She has very precise times for every ingredient you add to the mixing bowl. It makes a real difference in the texture of the batter.

The cake, despite the holes and drips came out pretty well. It had a cup of cocoa in it and so was very chocolately. The precise mixing times really did make for a nicely-texture cake with a very fine crumb.

Email me for the recipe if it looks good to you.


Donna-FFW said...

Hate when that happens to me.. you get all geared up for a recipe and then what you need is not around.. sucks. Cake looks yummy anyway!

Bunny said...

I hate it when I don't look at the recipe and just go gun ho! I would have just greased the pan too, how in the world would you paper a bundt pan!! The cake looks terrific!!

Bellini Valli said...

I know just how you feel. I had decided yesterday to make a cake then found out I had to substitute buttermilk for milk and I had no orange zest.As with yours it turned out pretty good nontheless.

Sue said...

You did just great with the unexpected as you were baking this cake. I'm flummoxed by lining the bundt pan with paper. Maybe she meant to make it in a loaf pan?

My favorite pound cake is one of the versions in the Joy of Cooking. You just make a normal pound cake, BUT you separate the eggs. (I KNOW, it's wild!) You fold in the whites at the very end and it's still rich and pound cake like, but with a lighter texture. Too good!

Why were you up in the middle of the night, posting recipes?!! (I completely understand.)

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Donna- What's worse is if what the cake needs is totally key. Then you have to go out shopping again!

Bunny - The recipe said cut the paper to fit, but that would take some fancy scissor work!

Val - Little flavor tweaks aren't all that bad, agreed. I know that you can sub buttermilk by adding vinegar to regular milk, but going in the reverse is very interesting!

Sue - I am a bit of an insomniac. I figured as long as I was up, I'd do my Sweet Treat post.

I doubt this cake would fit in a loaf pan unless it was two of them. This cake was big. Maybe that's what she meant and the correction never made it to the final edit?

The Duo Dishes said...

We have both fallen prey to missing ingredients when baking. Of course, with baking, it can make all the difference in the world. Luckily, you were able to skip around it and make it work.

Adam said...

It's funny when stuff like that happens. It's like life's way of keeping you on your toes and watching you dodge wrenches. Sounds like you're a good dodge, dip, dive, dodger :)

And I'll check out Graham Kerr. You Tube perhaps?